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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I put this article in another forum last spring. http://www.flyingdogpress.com/rewards.html
This covers what I and some others on this forum do in our training.
I'd love to hear some discussion and reasons from those who do things differently.
This discussion is NOT to tear down other's methods because we wouldn't be doing what we do if it didn't work, regardless of our methods.
They ALL have merit!
TIA!
 

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ok. long article. i'll comment as i read:

1) first thing i'll say is that it seems like this lady is splitting hairs. specifically between her definitions of lures and bribes.

2) i don't see how she can say a bribe, as she describes it, can NOT be considered training. the example she gives of the out: dog has carcass and you trade it for a piece of cheese. if you give a command just prior to giving the dog the cheese, will the dog eventually learn to out on just the command? sounds like training to me...

3) "My dogs will work for food, for praise/petting, for tennis balls, sticks or Frisbees, and seem to live for the thrill of attacking a running garden hose." this sounds an awful lot like a bribe by her definitions.

4) she tries to hard to "humanize" her dog theories

5) again, she speaks of the importance of randomized intervals for rewards. even if you randomize the "rewards", the dog is still working for them.

i think there two general philosophies on this. reward or no reward. she seems to try and straddle the fence or is trying to justify her reward system.

reward...bribe...lure...they're the same thing to me and i will use them when i need to....
 

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I started to read it, and realized that this is the kind of crap that makes newbies think they have found heaven, then eventually drop off from confusion.

It falls in line with the adds in Dog World magazine with the no food, no collars, no leashes, no watches, while blindfolded crap that the mystical Brittany and her 300 pound GSD, Dobe, and Rott all learned apparently from instructional video.

How dare you post crap like this. :p :p :p :p



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I like to think of lures as using food to get the dog into position, rewards as something that follows a mark as soon as the dog performs the desire behaviour, and bribes as candy-coated compulsion. :)

I use treats in the instructional phase to teach the dog to mind what I say. In other words I want him to learn three phases...one, I say a command, two, he does something, three, I mark it which tells him he did what I want him to do. I want the dog to listen and look for the mark, and it's very easy to teach using food because in the early stages, the dog thinks the mark means "food is coming". But because dogs mature as people do he will later learn that this means "That's right." I don't think of the mark as praise or encouragement...and because the dog learns to seek the mark for his own personal gain in the beginning, he learns to throw behaviours at me which is very useful for teaching in the future. He knows the learning process, and if I'm not saying anything then something's not right and he's going to try and do something else until he gets it right.

Later on, I wean off treats to toy rewards. This is for the purpose of the Schutzhund obedience seen on field. I want the dog in drive and pretty on field, so I teach him to EXPECT a reward on field. Then the variable reward system. He knows the steps leading to pretty obedience on the field, so when we're doing this he thinks I always have a ball or a tug on me. Maybe I do. Out of the field, or when the Schutzhund routine is over, I don't give rewards for anything I ask for when he's older except the mark and praise after that. Partly because I don't really carry a ball or tug or a hotdog with me all the time :roll: but also because I want to preserve the drive for when he knows we're doing picture-pretty stuff. I use different commands for some of the same actions, only he has a different mindset when doing them.

I think the best thing is food teaches your dog that what you say isn't just a bunch of nonsense. So he learns to communicate with you at an early age (by this I mean he understands your words, without having to rely on too much guidance). Hand signals are good and something I find dogs instinctively obey but not practical all the time, and a no-no in Schutzhund obedience, so I don't want the dog to rely on them.

Later on when you're teaching him new things it becomes easier since he knows the drill...you say a new command, he does an action, he gets marked. At the later stages for me anyway the dog gets rewarded if I want him to continue repeating the exercise on his own for a certain amount of time with a fast, energetic response, or not if I just want him to learn a word (for example I don't have to treat him for pooping :wink:).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Interesting responses!
This is also how we do our bite work only the reward is the bite itself. Not a toy or food then. No corrections! It works!
Jeff, my button is WAY to high for you to push. :lol: :p :p :p :wink:
 

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I realize this is only a tangent, but I'm curious.

If food is not used as a reward (which is fine! Great! No problem! :wink: ), does that mean that food is free? A given? That the dog has no requirement for earning food?

Or in a no-tangible-rewards training system, are there still certain behaviors required before food is given?

If there are, then isn't the food a reward for the behavior?

Or I guess it would be a lure or bribe, to split those hairs, if the food is displayed or referred to before the behavior is required?
 

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interesting question connie. i would expect the no bribe people to say that yes, food is free. a given at the end of the day. anything else and yes, your statement that it is nothing more than a reward, bribe, lure would be correct...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The food no longer is used as a lure or bribe once the exercise is learned by the dog but it will still keep on doing what's required. That's where the randomness comes in. The dog KNOWS it will come.
Food training is no harder to wean off of then compulsion.
Neither can go on the trial field but the dog will continue in anticipation of either the reward of the correction.
The good part of training with the bite being the reward is that it's right in front of the dog.
The only time that can be a problem is if the dog is patterened trained. Then it knows when it gets the bite. This makes the other exercises less valuable to the dog.
We don't pattern train.
 

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Bob Scott said:
The food no longer is used as a lure or bribe once the exercise is learned by the dog but it will still keep on doing what's required. That's where the randomness comes in. The dog KNOWS it will come.
Food training is no harder to wean off of then compulsion.
Neither can go on the trial field but the dog will continue in anticipation of either the reward of the correction.
The good part of training with the bite being the reward is that it's right in front of the dog.
The only time that can be a problem is if the dog is patterened trained. Then it knows when it gets the bite. This makes the other exercises less valuable to the dog.
We don't pattern train.
Excellent explanation, especially of the biggest problem with pattern training. 8)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
This is also wher I see the big difference between reward training or compulsion.
Will a dog work harder to win something it wants, or will it work harder to avoid correction?
IMHO, even a strong dog will work for something it wants. maybe even harder because it IS so strong.
With the level of correction some of these strong dogs need to comply, why wouldn't they work for something it enjoys.
Tim, does a good street dog need a correction in order to bite the bad guy? Heck no!
The way we train, we have no out problems with our dogs because the dog knows that the out is the key to getting it's reward. Another bite!
With a really strong dog, many will fight through compulsion for fear of loosing the bite. That's a big factor in out problems. It knows it will loose the bite after it outs.
 

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Hi Bob. I began learning about training dogs with the reward and bribe system. I soon found out that I had no REAL control of their behaviours when they decided to do something different or unwanted by me. I am a strong believer that no matter how much time is put into reward and bribery, the same dog will at some point choose it's own desires and ignore all attempts to regain their control or obedience. Especially in a working breed of high drive/protection/civil/stubborn/ etc. Eventually no amount of reward will stop them from an action that is undesireable. That action could be attacking a neighbor, a dog or running onto a road after a squirrel or deer.
When I stopped using reward, I gained control of the dogs.
I don't know how to explain what I do, just that I first bond as a playmate/leader, then I expand the leadership and control. I guess I get the control by not letting the dog get away with a behaviour to begin with. I am ready to take control before they are able to achieve control. I use long-lines to teach the recall, I use leaving them to force their knowledge that if they wish to follow, then they have to do the obstacle (ladder, slippery floors, stairs, etc.). I make them so bonded that they want to follow willingly. I don't punish if a lesson is not learned, but I do punish if I am challenged by them.
I give praise in the way of telling them they did good, and I have a set of words that give meaning to each situation. They learn from the first day they arrive. For instance if I want the dog to learn to open a drawer I may first teach the search ability. When the dog is easily searching and finding the drawer with the narcotic or scent of choice, then I will praise for the find and add the word "open". I just keep repeating the word and watch the different behaviours unfold. The dog may move back or may alert to the scent again and again, but I do not praise it. I just repeat the word "open" and finally the dog will maybe touch the handle with it's nose and THERE, I praise. But I continue in the same lesson and keep repeating the word "open", the dog may touch the handle 20 times with it's nose again, but I only praise the nose touching that exceeds the previous strength of the ones I praised already. Kind of like a stepping block. The further the dog gets to the end result the higher/louder my tone of praise. Finally they get the point and that is the one I continue to praise each time. Then they know what I wanted.
For bad behaviours, I don't redirect, I direct. If I have a puppy on a long line and it does not turn when I turn, then it gets a unwelcome pop of that line at the same time I say "HERE". It only takes about 4 pops in change of direction for the puppy to learn that the only way is to follow me. Keep an eye on my direction and change when I change. I don't use the work BAD nor the word COME, they are too common and confuse the dog. These are words we use in everyday conversation, so why use the same word for a command?
I am very patient, and will stay for an hour or two if I have to to teach a behaviour. The dog does not get praise until the behaviour begins to take shape. Each little move forward towards the behaviour get a praise, but NOT if any undesireable behaviour is in there with it. For instance, back to the narcotic drawer. If the dog is told "OPEN' but he jumps and barks before touching his nose to the handle I will not praise. I will only praise when he just touches the handle. That way it is clear to him what the praise is for. I like to look at the training like the dog has a brain and he can learn. I don't like the thought that a dog needs to be tricked into a behaviour because he will get a reward. That stunts the dog's ability to use his head and figure things out on his own.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Liz, on the contrary! We give the dog options to to something for a rerward. If it chooses something other then what we want, it gets nothing. The dog definately has to think it's way through the problem instead of correcting when it does wrong. Motivational is ALL about choices for the dog.
One of our TDs favorite comments is "Ignore $#!+ behaviour".
As far as the dog eventually doing something that is undesirable, that is all about imprionting the control when a puppy.
You mentioned a dog running in the road after a squirrel or a deer. Receintly I was leaving a house I've been rehabbing and a big cat ran right under Thunder's nose. He took off after it, no more then a foot behind it. All I did was give a platz command. He dropped like a sack of wet mice (Thanks Woody :D ).
His platz was taught the same way everything else was . Motivational! No correction!
This is a strong, high drive/protective/civil dog that is almost three yr old that has never had a correction on the training field.
Stubborn? Not a bit, but that's all about early imprinting.
Control, IMHO, has nothing to do with corrections. It's about your connection and leadership with your dog.
 

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Yes, I understand what you are saying, and I know very many people who agree with you. It's just me, I refuse to take any chance at all that a dog may disregard my command when their safety or a persons safety is in jeoprody (if I spelled that word right, lol). I am more of a less reward type of person because I have lost control of dogs before and it's a scary and embarrassing thing. I have watched too many friends use reward/trick type training, I don't mean your working dogs are Trick trained at all, just a phrase for some dogs. And i've had to hear about their dogs being killed by cars, taken friends to the hospital because they got in the middle of dog fights. The last time I ever used a reward - food, toy was when my dog took off into the woods after a pack of coyotees and I didn't know if I would ever see her alive again. That is why I am so bound and determined to avoid reward in the way of food or toys. I prefer to feel that I have control out of respect and leadership. I guess I could call it dominance gained by only allowing the dog to see the correct way of doing things.
Although, many dogs like yours, who would platz instantly are very well trained indeed. I'm just not using the same route to get there, but it doesn't mean your route is bad or wrong, just not one that makes me feel sure of myself at all times. And if I don't feel sure, then I would feel responsible for any accidents or aggressions that where unwanted.
I've already had to live with a few of those and i still feel the guilt.
 

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I agree Bob. Whether you reward or not has nothing to do with the actual control of your dog. You will have better control of your dog regardless of how he's trained if he respects you. Motivational training alone isn't enough...dog training shouldn't involve a single system, it should account for every aspect of the dog and owner's behaviors and lifestyle.
 

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Bob, in the way I mean correction, I don't mean an outburst of anger or a threat of harm to the dog. I mean that I don't allow the dog to achieve the unwanted behaviour. If I am training a platz, I will keep a lead on the dog, step one: walk with dog, stop, and say Platz. The dog does nothing of course, so then I kneel down and with the lead gently guide the dog/puppy of course into a down position. Not to the point of a struggle. If the dog is unwilling, I will simply use my hand and pat the floor by his front feet and ease his back end downward. No food lure at all. Soon they get it, I haven't had trouble with that. There are some dogs who when older would eat you alive if they where trained like that as an adult, but that is why I like pups, LOL.
Now my story may change a little if someone placed me with an adult, civil dog who was saying NO to me.
For training the pup to Place same is Platz but a more relaxed lay down and rest type command. Keep the lead on and down the dog in the place of choice, stay with the dog, every time he gets up, immediately return him to the place and again command a down. The lesson is learned in relatively half an hour with most dogs/pups, and the handler should be able to go sit across the room and watch TV until the dog is released from the PLACE command. So I guess I am using a lot of compulsion. But I do it gently and I would never do it in everyday training if I saw fear of stress becoming a factor.

Also, I use the word DROP normally instead of Platz, and it is taught the same way. I recall the dog from a few feet at first, grab the lead and down the dog. As he gets better at it, I move to further distances until it is a reliable DROP on command with the dog coming or leaving me.

My god I'm long winded, just one more blabbering on; I do reward by showing my love to the dog with patting, praising, saying good boy, and some old fashioned baby talk at times. but only when not training. All training commands that are accomplished get the word "YES" to signify to the dog that he/she is on the right track.
 

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As for the article, while I applaud the authors' effort, I'm afraid her explanation is understandable only to those of us who already know what she is talking about. To test it out, I'm going to ask my bf to read it tomorrow after work & then will give him a pop quiz. After that he will be rewarded or punished, depending on his grade. :twisted:

I know one thing. I know that when it comes to schutzhund, I never believed the reward/no compulsion sect. I always nodded politely, & moved on. That was until I read you, Bob. Yes, that was the day I realized I was a bigot. :x Seriously, I think there are so many factors (the dog, the skill of the trainer/handler). Sometimes it takes a better trainer to train withOUT force. I do admire Bob (he has only been training dogs since the dark ages), & am really curious to see what results he gets. Personally I use reward & compulsion.
 

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Hi Susan, I kept editing and adding stuff above, I'm too long winded in my replies, that's my vice, LOL. I do admit that I have become a compulsion trainer in most ways, but if you read the additions to what I wrote above, you will also see that I love them dearly and I save all my reward and affection for them when the training period is over. They always get the majority of the day playing with me and just being a dog. It's just that all that play is done in a safe or contained enviroment so I don't loose the lessons I have been teaching outside of that contained environment. When the dog is reliable, then boy oh boy do we play at times out in the bush or in a park.
I'm not all mean, I'm just me.
 

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Liz, I wasn't trying to say I thought you were cruel. I'm pretty much the same. I just really surprised myself when I realized I had written off a method of training without a good reason! I think it's because I am sick of all those people who really make a lot of $$ selling stupid 1st time pet owners bad training methods, & those same hollywood trainers seem to encourage these people to treat their dogs like babies.

Now, here comes Bob with his radical no compulsion methods. Normally I would just glaze over & nod politely, but he knows what he is doing. I'm sure he would not have a problem using compulsion, my god he raised Terrors of all things.

Hey - I would be long winded if I didn't have ADD. Unfortunately I just wander off....
 

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Bob has obviously found a way that works for him and his needs.Thats great! :lol: I really see alot of similarities in what Bob is saying and what others say,including myself.
I train alot like Liz but Im not going to say I always train the same way.It depends,some dogs may NEED a correction and others may hardly ever need one.I dont correct Shooter that much anymore but I have learned not to make him do stupid sh!! just for my own amusement.If I have an honest reason for him to do something he will do it willingly and enthusiastically.His "reward" is to do the work and to please me.He gets the most fired up for tracking and then secondly to leave scars on a stranger. :lol:
If I would have to come up with a reward that I use it would have to be the bond.The bond is the reward.It is the most natural reward and to interject other aids for the dog to focus on distracts both dog and handler.of course it depends on the way these props are produced and given to the dog for the desired behavior.Rewarding with balls or tugs works, thats for sure.I wouldnt mind coming out and watching Bob in training one day.Maybe Ill change my mind. :wink:
 

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susan tuck said:
.....Sometimes it takes a better trainer to train withOUT force. I do admire Bob (he has only been training dogs since the dark ages), & am really curious to see what results he gets. Personally I use reward & compulsion.
I agree. Training without any correction is probably beyond my skill level..... at least at the moment. I'm fascinated and impressed.
 
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